Military personnel from Georgia’s breakaway region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) may soon serve in the Russian army.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved of a 2015 year’s agreement between Russia and de-facto authorities in Tskhinvali allowing South Ossetian troops to serve in the Russian Armed Forces, the BBC Russian Service reported yesterday.
Calling the agreement illegitimate, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said today that such steps do not aim at ensuring peace [and] peaceful regulation of conflicts, but rather hinder the peace making process that is necessary for the resolution of the conflict.
Janelidze believes Russia should follow its obligations under the six-point ceasefire agreement that both Georgia and Russia have signed, withdraw its forces from Georgian territory and create precondition for the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
By signing the deal both sides agreed:
- No recourse to the use of force.
- A lasting cessation of hostilities.
- Unfettered access for humanitarian aid providers.
- Georgian forces must withdraw to their usual barracks.
- Russian forces must go back to positions they held prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Pending an international peace monitoring mechanism, Russian peacekeepers will take additional security measures.
- Launch of international discussions on security and stability arrangements for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Foreign media says Putin asked the Russian Defence Minister to lead negotiations with de-facto South Ossetian officials to conclude the deal "to effectively incorporate the military of Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia region into the Russian armed forces' command structure”.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty says that the order, issued by the Kremlin on March 14, comes a day after the Russian government published a draft agreement paving the way for separatists in South Ossetia to serve as contract soldiers in the Russian military.
In 2010 the South Ossetian army had 1,250 servicemen and 15,000 men in the reserves. Those who will now join the Russian Armed Forces will leave the South Ossetian army.
South Ossetia is a breakaway region of Georgia that is backed by Russia. Russian troops are stationed in the region – something the international society refers to as Russian occupation of Georgian land.
Last year Russia’s parliament ratified an illegal military cooperation agreement with Abkhazia - another Georgian region also occupied by Russia.